Reports & Testimonies

  • GAO’s recommendations database contains report recommendations that still need to be addressed.

    GAO’s recommendations help congressional and agency leaders prepare for appropriations and oversight activities, as well as help improve government operations. Recommendations remain open until they are designated as Closed-implemented or Closed-not implemented. You can explore open recommendations by searching or browsing.

    GAO's priority recommendations are those that we believe warrant priority attention. We sent letters to the heads of key departments and agencies, urging them to continue focusing on these issues. These recommendations are labeled as such. You can find priority recommendations by searching or browsing our open recommendations below, or through our mobile app.

  • Browse Open Recommendations

    Explore priority recommendations by subject terms or browse by federal agency

    Search Open Recommendations

    Search for a specific priority recommendation by word or phrase



  • Governing on the go?

    Our Priorities for Policy Makers app makes it easier for leaders to search our recommendations on the go.

    See the November 10th Press Release


  • Have a Question about a Recommendation?

    • For questions about a specific recommendation, contact the person or office listed with the recommendation.
    • For general information about recommendations, contact GAO's Audit Policy and Quality Assurance office at (202) 512-6100 or apqa@gao.gov.
  • « Back to Results List Sort by   

    Results:

    Subject Term: "Law courts"

    19 publications with a total of 63 open recommendations including 1 priority recommendation
    Director: Rebecca Gambler
    Phone: (202) 512-8777

    6 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better assess whether RSCs are meeting USRAP objectives, the Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration should develop outcome-based indicators, as required by State policy.

    Agency: Department of State: Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To better assess whether RSCs are meeting USRAP objectives, the Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration should monitor RSC performance against such indicators on a regular basis.

    Agency: Department of State: Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that USCIS officers effectively adjudicate applications for refugee status, the Director of USCIS should develop and implement a plan to deploy officers with national security expertise on circuit rides.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that USCIS officers effectively adjudicate applications for refugee status, the Director of USCIS should conduct regular quality assurance assessments of refugee application adjudications across USCIS's Refugee Affairs Division and International Operations Division.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: USCIS provided documentation that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officials conducted a quality assurance assessment of refugee adjudications in July 2017 and has plans to conduct an additional quality assurance assessment in January or February 2018. To fully address this recommendation, USCIS should demonstrate a continued commitment to conducting regular quality assurance assessments of refugee application adjudications.
    Recommendation: To provide reasonable assurance that USRAP applicant fraud prevention and detection controls are adequate and effectively implemented, the Secretaries of Homeland Security and State should conduct regular joint assessments of applicant fraud risk across USRAP.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To provide reasonable assurance that USRAP applicant fraud prevention and detection controls are adequate and effectively implemented, the Secretaries of Homeland Security and State should conduct regular joint assessments of applicant fraud risk across USRAP.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Maurer, Diana C
    Phone: (202) 512-8777

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better ensure that the FBI Laboratory obtains additional transcripts, the FBI Director should require that the FBI Laboratory's procedure for tracking and obtaining transcripts routinely captures and uses additional information and data critical to transcript acquisition, such as the reason a transcript is unavailable, when it is expected to be available, the court jurisdiction, and a point of contact for the transcript.

    Agency: Department of Justice: Federal Bureau of Investigation
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Rebecca Gambler
    Phone: (202) 512-8777

    11 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better address current and future staffing needs, the Director of EOIR should develop and implement a strategic workforce plan that addresses, among other areas, key principles of effective strategic workforce planning, including (1) determining critical skills and competencies needed to achieve current and future programmatic results; (2) developing strategies that are tailored to address gaps in number, deployment, and alignment of human capital approaches for enabling and sustaining the contributions of all critical skills and competencies; and (3) monitoring and evaluation of the agency's progress toward its human capital goals and the contribution that human capital results have made toward achieving programmatic results.

    Agency: Department of Justice: Executive Office for Immigration Review
    Status: Open

    Comments: In August 2017, EOIR officials reported that its Immigration Court Staffing Committee, established in April 2017, would, among other things, examine how to best leverage the judicial and court staff workload model to address its short- and long-term staffing needs, assess the critical skills and competencies needed to achieve future programmatic results, and develop strategies to address human capital gaps. This committee expects to complete its work in March 2018. EOIR also reported that it is developing an agency-wide strategic plan that includes human capital planning as a critical component, which will be used to guide workforce planning for the entire agency. To fully address this recommendation, EOIR's Immigration Court Staffing Committee should complete its work and provide documentation demonstrating that it: 1) addressed the agency's short- and long-term staffing needs; 2) identified the critical skills and competencies needed to achieve future programmatic results; and 3) developed strategies to address human capital gaps. EOIR should also provide documentation, including the completed strategic plan, describing how the agency tailored its human capital strategies to address gaps in the number, deployment, and alignment of human capital approaches; and is monitoring and evaluating the agency's progress toward its human capital goals.
    Recommendation: To better address EOIR's immigration judge staffing needs, the Director of EOIR should: (1) assess the immigration judge hiring process to identify opportunities for efficiency; (2) use the assessment results to develop a hiring strategy that targets short- and long-term human capital needs; and (3) implement any corrective actions related to the hiring process resulting from this assessment.

    Agency: Department of Justice: Executive Office for Immigration Review
    Status: Open

    Comments: In August 2017, EOIR stated that it is actively implementing a new streamlined hiring plan that aims to reduce the hiring timeline. According to EOIR, this revised hiring plan, among other things, sets clear deadlines for assessing applicants moving through different stages of the process and for making decisions on advancing applicants to the next stage, as well as allows for temporary appointments for all selected judges pending full background investigations. EOIR stated that it will use this revised process in the future to fill judge vacancies. Regarding the development of a hiring strategy, EOIR stated that it recognizes the importance of assessing immigration judge hiring needs holistically to continue to develop an overall immigration judge hiring strategy, and will utilize a planned human capital strategy and additional data to further refine the hiring process. To fully address this recommendation, EOIR should continue its efforts to assess and improve its hiring process and provide documentation describing: 1) its new hiring process, including how EOIR assessed the prior hiring process to identify opportunities for efficiency; 2) its hiring strategy targeting short- and long-term human capital needs; and (3) the corrective actions EOIR implemented in response to the assessment results, such as eliminating procedures that increased the length of the hiring process.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that EOIR meets its cost and schedule expectations for EOIR Courts and Appeals Systems (ECAS), the EOIR Director should identify and establish the appropriate entity for exercising oversight over ECAS through full implementation.

    Agency: Department of Justice: Executive Office for Immigration Review
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of August 2017, EOIR reported that it had selected the EOIR Investment Review Board to serve as the ECAS oversight body with the Office of Information Technology (OIT) directly responsible for the management of the ECAS program. To fully address this recommendation, EOIR should provide documentation related to this decision.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that EOIR meets its cost and schedule expectations for ECAS, the EOIR Director should document and implement an oversight plan that is consistent with best practices for overseeing IT projects, including (1) establishing how the oversight body is to monitor program performance and progress toward expected cost, schedule, and benefits; (2) ensuring that corrective actions are identified and assigned to the appropriate parties at the first sign of cost, schedule, or performance slippages; and (3) ensuring that corrective actions are tracked until the desired outcomes are achieved.

    Agency: Department of Justice: Executive Office for Immigration Review
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of August 2017, EOIR reported that it had selected the EOIR Investment Review Board to serve as the ECAS oversight body with the Office of Information Technology (OIT) directly responsible for the management of the ECAS program. According to EOIR, OIT will record on a weekly basis all financial metrics, risks, issues, and corrective actions in EOIR's project management tool, as well as regularly evaluating the program's performance and progress and immediately implementing any needed corrective actions. To fully address this recommendation, EOIR should document and implement an oversight plan that describes how the EOIR Investment Review Board and OIT will oversee the full implementation of ECAS, including how these bodies will, consistent with best practices for overseeing IT projects: 1) monitor program performance and progress toward expected cost, schedule, and benefits; (2) ensure that corrective actions are identified and assigned to the appropriate parties at the first sign of cost, schedule, or performance slippages; and (3) ensure that corrective actions are tracked until the desired outcomes are achieved.
    Recommendation: To provide further assurance that EOIR's use of video teleconference (VTC) in immigration hearings is outcome-neutral, the Director of EOIR should collect more complete and reliable data on the number and type of hearings it conducts through VTC.

    Agency: Department of Justice: Executive Office for Immigration Review
    Status: Open

    Comments: In August 2017, EOIR stated that it is studying how to collect more complete and reliable data on the number and type of hearings it conducts through video teleconference (VTC). To fully address this recommendation, once EOIR determines how to collect more complete and reliable VTC hearing data, EOIR should provide documentation describing its approach and evidence of its implementation.
    Recommendation: To provide further assurance that EOIR's use of VTC in immigration hearings is outcome-neutral, the Director of EOIR should collect data on appeals in which the use of VTC formed some basis for the appeal, and the number of in-person hearing motions filed.

    Agency: Department of Justice: Executive Office for Immigration Review
    Status: Open

    Comments: In August 2017, EOIR stated that it is planning a pilot project to collect data on the number and type of appeals to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) in which the use of video teleconference (VTC) formed an element of the basis for the appeal. EOIR expects to begin this 6-month pilot project in the first quarter of fiscal year 2018. Additionally, EOIR stated that it will assess the feasibility of collecting data on the number of filed motions requesting an in-person hearing instead of a VTC hearing. To fully address this recommendation, EOIR should continue these efforts and begin systematically collecting data on appeals in which the use of VTC formed some basis for the appeal and the number of in-person hearing motions filed.
    Recommendation: To provide further assurance that EOIR's use of VTC in immigration hearings is outcome-neutral, the Director of EOIR should use these and other data to assess any effects of VTC on immigration hearings and, as appropriate, address any issues identified through such an assessment.

    Agency: Department of Justice: Executive Office for Immigration Review
    Status: Open

    Comments: In August 2017, EOIR stated that it intends to analyze data on appeals in which the use of VTC formed some basis for the appeal from the Board of Immigration Appeals' pilot program as well as other data to further assess any effects of video teleconference (VTC) usage on immigration hearings. To fully address this recommendation, EOIR should, pending the results of the pilot program, use these and other data to assess any effects of VTC on immigration hearings and, as appropriate, address any issues identified through such an assessment.
    Recommendation: To further ensure that EOIR's VTC hearings meet all user needs and help EOIR identify and address technical issues with VTC hearings, the Director of EOIR should develop and implement a mechanism to solicit and monitor feedback from respondents regarding their satisfaction and experiences with VTC hearings, including the audio and visual quality of the hearing.

    Agency: Department of Justice: Executive Office for Immigration Review
    Status: Open

    Comments: In August 2017, EOIR stated that it partially agreed with this recommendation and would create a mechanism to solicit open-ended feedback from respondents regarding their satisfaction and experience with video teleconference (VTC) hearings, including the audio and visual quality of the hearing. EOIR reported that it is exploring and expects to implement some options by the first quarter of fiscal year 2018, such as a feedback portal on the EOIR website, a dedicated e-mail box, or a comment card for distribution to respondents at immigration courts and detention centers where VTC hearings are held. To fully address this recommendation, EOIR should continue to explore and implement a mechanism to solicit and monitor feedback from respondents regarding their satisfaction and experiences with VTC hearings, including the audio and visual quality of the hearing.
    Recommendation: To better assess court performance and use data to identify potential management challenges, the Director of EOIR should establish and monitor comprehensive case completion goals, including a goal for completing non-detained cases not currently captured by performance measures, and goals for cases it considers a priority.

    Agency: Department of Justice: Executive Office for Immigration Review
    Status: Open

    Comments: In August 2017, EOIR stated that it agrees that the agency should measure case completions in all categories and is evaluating the best way to measure its courts' performance to improve efficiency and productivity. Additionally, EOIR reported that it is working with the immigration judges' union to conduct this assessment and expects to complete this evaluation and begin working toward making any changes to its performance assessment system by the second quarter of fiscal year 2018. To fully address this recommendation, EOIR should continue these efforts and establish and monitor comprehensive case completion goals, including a goal for completing non-detained cases not currently captured by performance measures, and goals for cases it considers a priority.
    Recommendation: To better assess court performance and use data to identify potential management challenges, the Director of EOIR should systematically analyze immigration court continuance data to identify and address any operational challenges faced by courts or areas for additional guidance or training.

    Agency: Department of Justice: Executive Office for Immigration Review
    Status: Open

    Comments: In August 2017, EOIR stated that it will further analyze continuance data to identify and address operational challenges as well as determine areas where immigration judges might benefit from additional guidance or training on the use of continuances. EOIR plans to prepare new reports assessing continuance data by the first quarter of fiscal year 2018. Additionally, EOIR reported that it anticipates releasing a new Operating Policies and Procedures Memorandum addressing the appropriate use of continuances in August 2017. To fully address this recommendation, EOIR should continue to systematically analyze continuance data to identify any operational challenges faced by courts or areas for additional guidance or training, and address any challenges through taking actions such as issuing the new memorandum on continuances.
    Recommendation: To better assess court performance and use data to identify potential management challenges, the Director of EOIR should update policies and procedures to ensure the timely and accurate recording of Notices to Appear.

    Agency: Department of Justice: Executive Office for Immigration Review
    Status: Open

    Comments: In August 2017, EOIR stated that it partially agreed with this recommendation and will continue to monitor the timeliness and accuracy of NTA recording and implement corrective actions as needed. Additionally, EOIR stated that it will explore the need to create new guidance for immigration court staff to address instances where EOIR exceeds average recording times timeframes in the future. To fully implement this recommendation, EOIR should update its policies and procedures to better ensure the timely and accurate recording of NTAs, and thus provide greater assurance that EOIR's case management data are accurate, including case completion times and the size of its case backlog.
    Director: Seto Bagdoyan
    Phone: (202) 512-6722

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance consumer understanding of agency oversight roles and to strengthen agency oversight of Internet marketing, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services and the Chair of the FTC should develop and provide additional guidance to consumers delineating the agencies' differing roles in their shared oversight of memory supplement and other dietary supplement marketing on the Internet.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To enhance consumer understanding of agency oversight roles and to strengthen agency oversight of Internet marketing, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services and the Chair of the FTC should develop and provide additional guidance to consumers delineating the agencies' differing roles in their shared oversight of memory supplement and other dietary supplement marketing on the Internet.

    Agency: Federal Trade Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Lori Rectanus
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Attorney General should instruct the Director of the Marshals Service to ensure that the improvements being made to the Marshals Service's information on the security concerns of individual buildings allow the Marshals Service to understand the concerns across the portfolio.

    Agency: Department of Justice
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the Marshalls Service has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Administrator of GSA and the Director of the AOUSC, on behalf of the Judicial Conference of the United States, in conjunction with the Marshals Service and FPS, should improve CSP documentation in order to improve transparency and collaboration in the CSP program.

    Agency: General Services Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions GSA has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Administrator of GSA and the Director of the AOUSC, on behalf of the Judicial Conference of the United States, in conjunction with the Marshals Service and FPS, should improve CSP documentation in order to improve transparency and collaboration in the CSP program.

    Agency: Administrative Office of the United States Courts
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions AOUSC has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Administrator of GSA--in conjunction with AOUSC, the Marshals Service, and FPS--should establish a national-level working group or similar forum, consisting of leadership designees with decision-making authority, to meet regularly to address courthouse security issues.

    Agency: General Services Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions GSA has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Rebecca Gambler
    Phone: (202) 512-8777

    6 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better inform on the effectiveness of CDS implementation and border security efforts, the Chief of Border Patrol should strengthen the methodology for calculating recidivism such as by using an alien's apprehension history beyond one fiscal year and excluding aliens for whom there is no record of removal and who may remain in the United States.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Customs and Border Protection: Office of the Commissioner: U.S. Border Patrol
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To better inform on the effectiveness of CDS implementation and border security efforts, the Chief of Border Patrol should collect information on reasons agents do not apply the CDS guides' Most Effective and Efficient consequences to assess the extent that agents' application of these consequences can be increased and modify development of CDS guides, as appropriate.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Customs and Border Protection: Office of the Commissioner: U.S. Border Patrol
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To better inform on the effectiveness of CDS implementation and border security efforts, the Chief of Border Patrol should revise CDS guidance to ensure consistent and accurate methodologies for estimating Border Patrol costs across consequences and to factor in, where appropriate and available, the relative costs of any federal partner resources necessary to implement each consequence.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Customs and Border Protection: Office of the Commissioner: U.S. Border Patrol
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To better inform on the effectiveness of CDS implementation and border security efforts, the Chief of Border Patrol should ensure that sector management is monitoring progress in meeting their performance targets and communicating performance results to Border Patrol headquarters management.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Customs and Border Protection: Office of the Commissioner: U.S. Border Patrol
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To better inform on the effectiveness of CDS implementation and border security efforts, the Chief of Border Patrol should provide consistent guidance for alien classification and take steps to ensure CDS Project Management Office and sector management conduct data integrity activities necessary to strengthen control over the classification of aliens.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Customs and Border Protection: Office of the Commissioner: U.S. Border Patrol
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Assistant Secretary of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection to collaborate on sharing immigration enforcement and removal data to help Border Patrol account for the removal status of apprehended aliens in its recidivism rate measure.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Rebecca Shea
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To provide circuits with information needed to help guide future space-reduction and use decisions, the Director of AOUSC should document and share additional practices on innovative and cost-effective use or design of appellate courtrooms and judges' chambers, such as scheduling, redesign, and sharing arrangements, and any other potential approaches, with all regional circuits in order to help them determine the feasibility of these options for their circuit.

    Agency: Administrative Office of the United States Courts
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Rebecca Gambler
    Phone: (202) 512-8777

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better assess whether the LOP and LOPC are having a measurable impact in meeting their program objectives, the Director of EOIR should develop and implement a system of performance measures, including establishing a baseline, to regularly evaluate the effectiveness of LOP and LOPC and assess whether the programs are achieving their stated goals.

    Agency: Department of Justice: Executive Office for Immigration Review
    Status: Open

    Comments: In January 2017, EOIR reported that the agency is working with a contractor to redesign EOIR's performance management system consistent with the principles outlined in the Government Performance and Results Modernization Act of 2010. In addition, EOIR reported that staff from its Office of Legal Access Programs (OLAP) plan to participate in strategic planning training, which will include how to establish performance measurements. To fully address the recommendation, EOIR should develop and implement a system of performance measures for LOP and LOPC, including establishing a baseline, and assess program performance against such measures.
    Director: Valerie Melvin
    Phone: (202) 512-6304

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To provide greater transparency in the reporting of FOIA litigation costs, Congress could consider requiring Justice to provide a cost estimate for collecting and reporting information on costs incurred when defending lawsuits in which the plaintiffs prevailed.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: Congress has not yet considered if it plans to amend FOIA regarding the reporting of costs for defending lawsuits in which the plaintiffs prevailed.
    Recommendation: Congress could consider amending the act to require Justice to reflect in its Litigation and Compliance reports, changes in the award of attorneys' fees and costs resulting from the appeals process and settlement agreements between agencies and plaintiffs, if deemed to be cost-effective.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: Congress has not yet considered if it plans to amend FOIA to require Justice to make changes to its Litigation and Compliance reports.
    Director: Kimberly M. Gianopoulos
    Phone: (202) 512-8612

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better manage the AD/CV duty liquidation process, CBP should issue guidance directing the Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Centralization Team to (a) collect and analyze data on a regular basis to identify and address the causes of liquidations that occur contrary to the process or outside the 6-month time frame mandated by statute, (b) track progress on reducing such liquidations, and (c) report on any effects these liquidations may have on revenue.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Customs and Border Protection
    Status: Open

    Comments: CBP concurred with this recommendation and said it would take steps to implement it. As of July 10, 2017, CBP was waiting for the results of its FY 2017 self-inspection to determine the extent to which it has made progress toward reducing liquidations that occur contrary to the process or outside the 6 month time frame mandated by statute. In addition, CBP was in the process of calculating the revenue effect of entries processed for deemed liquidation during FY 2017. We will continue to monitor CBP's progress towards closing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve risk management in the collection of AD/CV duties and to identify new or changing risks, CBP should regularly conduct a comprehensive risk analysis that assesses both the likelihood and the significance of risk factors related to AD/CV duty collection. For example, CBP could construct statistical models that explore the associations between potential risk factors and both the probability of nonpayment and the size of nonpayment when it occurs.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Customs and Border Protection
    Status: Open

    Comments: CBP concurred with this recommendation and said it would take steps to implement it. As of July 10, 2017, CBP had produced a risk analysis model consisting of a regression analysis to determine the probability of non-payment for type 3 AD/CVD entries. CBP plans to begin testing the accuracy of the model through testing of recently occurred transactions. CBP also plans to refine the model. CBP estimates that it will complete the development of the model by September 30, 2017.
    Recommendation: To improve risk management in the collection of AD/CV duties, CBP should, consistent with U.S. law and international obligations, take steps to use its data and risk assessment strategically to mitigate AD/CV duty nonpayment, such as by using predictive risk analysis to identify entries that pose heightened risk and taking appropriate action to mitigate the risk.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Customs and Border Protection
    Status: Open

    Comments: CBP concurred with this recommendation and said it would take steps to implement it. As of July 10, 2017 CBP planned to use the model it is in the process of developing to improve risk management in the collection of AD/CVD duties. CBP expects to begin using the risk-based model that it is developing as part of an approach targeting high risk AD/CVD entries by October 31, 2018. Separately, a March 31, 2017 executive order requires CBP to develop a strategy and plan for covered importers that, based on an assessment of risk, pose a risk to the revenue of the United States. As of July 11, 2017, the strategy and plan had not been published.
    Director: Gretta L. Goodwin
    Phone: (202) 512-8777

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help the NICS Section achieve its mission to enhance national security and public safety by providing the timely and accurate determination of a person's eligibility to possess firearms, the Director of the FBI should monitor NICS check outcomes for specific categories of prohibited individuals to assess timeliness and provide this information to other DOJ entities for use in establishing priorities and tools to assist states in submitting more complete records for use during NICS checks.

    Agency: Department of Justice: Federal Bureau of Investigation
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Frank Rusco
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    7 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help improve patent quality, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the Director of the USPTO to develop a consistent definition of patent quality, and clearly articulate this definition in agency documents and other guidance.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to the agency's action plan, USPTO will update relevant agency guidance, conduct training, and take other actions in response to this recommendation by March 2017.
    Recommendation: To help improve patent quality, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the Director of the USPTO to further develop measurable, quantifiable goals and performance indicators related to patent quality as part of the agency's strategic plan.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to the agency's action plan, USPTO will update existing indicators and, as appropriate, develop new measures by October 2016.
    Recommendation: To help improve patent quality, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the Director of the USPTO to analyze the time examiners need to perform a thorough patent examination. This action could be taken in conjunction with the recommendation in our report on USPTO's prior art search capabilities (GAO-16-479).

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to the agency's action plan, USPTO will complete an examination of expectancy by April 2017.
    Recommendation: To help improve patent quality, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the Director of the USPTO to analyze how current performance incentives affect the extent to which examiners perform thorough examinations of patent applications.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to the agency's action plan, USPTO will complete an assessment of examination quality across current incentive award tiers by September 2017.
    Recommendation: To help improve patent quality, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the Director of the USPTO to establish a process to provide data on the results of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) proceedings to managers and staff in the USPTO's Technology Centers, and analyze PTAB data for trends in patent quality issues to identify whether additional training, guidance, or other actions are needed to address trends.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to the agency's action plan, USPTO will establish a process to provide examiners with information on various PTAB proceedings by September 2016.
    Recommendation: To help improve patent quality, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the Director of the USPTO to evaluate the effects of compact prosecution and other agency application and examination policies on patent quality. In doing so, USPTO should determine if any changes are needed to ensure that the policies are not adversely affecting patent quality.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to the agency's action plan, USPTO will complete an assessment of various policies on patent quality by September 2017.
    Recommendation: To help improve patent quality, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the Director of the USPTO to consider whether to require patent applicants to include claim clarity tools--such as a glossary of terms, a check box to signal functional claim language, or claim charts--in each patent application.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to the agency's action plan, USPTO will issue a request for comments on additional claim clarity tools by September 2017 and determine any new requirements by January 2018.
    Director: Diana C. Maurer
    Phone: (202) 512-9627

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help determine if pretrial diversion programs and practices are effectively contributing to the achievement of department goals and enhance DOJ's ability to better manage and encourage the use of such programs and practices, the Attorney General should identify, obtain, and track data on the outcomes and costs of pretrial diversion programs.

    Agency: Department of Justice
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, DOJ concurred with this recommendation but has not yet taken any actions necessary to implement it.
    Recommendation: To help determine if pretrial diversion programs and practices are effectively contributing to the achievement of department goals and enhance DOJ's ability to better manage and encourage the use of such programs and practices, the Attorney General should develop performance measures by which to help assess program outcomes.

    Agency: Department of Justice
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, DOJ concurred with this recommendation but has not yet taken any actions necessary to implement it.
    Recommendation: To determine how the use of RRCs and home confinement contribute to its goal of helping inmates successfully reenter society, and to better enable BOP to adjust its policies and procedures for the optimal use of these alternatives, as necessary and within statutory requirements, the Director of BOP should identify, obtain, and track data on the outcomes of the programs.

    Agency: Department of Justice: Bureau of Prisons
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, DOJ concurred with this recommendation but has not yet taken any actions necessary to implement it.
    Recommendation: To determine how the use of RRCs and home confinement contribute to its goal of helping inmates successfully reenter society, and to better enable BOP to adjust its policies and procedures for the optimal use of these alternatives, as necessary and within statutory requirements, the Director of BOP should develop performance measures by which to help assess program outcomes.

    Agency: Department of Justice: Bureau of Prisons
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, DOJ concurred with this recommendation but has not yet taken any actions necessary to implement it.
    Director: Valerie C. Melvin
    Phone: (202) 512-6304

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve DOL's management of FOIA requests, the Secretary of Labor should direct the Chief FOIA Officer to establish a time frame for implementing, and take actions to implement, section 508 requirements in the department's FOIA system and online portal.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of May 2017, the Department of Labor had provided a response regarding its actions to address our recommendation. We have not yet verified if the actions meet the intent of our recommendation. When we confirm what actions the agency has taken we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve DOL's management of FOIA requests, the Secretary of Labor should direct the Chief FOIA Officer to establish a time frame for implementing, and take actions to fully implement, recommended best practice capabilities for enhanced processing of requests in the department's FOIA system and online portal.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of May 2017, the Department of Labor had provided a response regarding its actions to address our recommendation. We have not yet verified if the actions taken meet the intent of our recommendations. When we confirm what actions the agency has taken we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve DOL's management of FOIA requests, the Secretary of Labor should direct the Chief FOIA Officer to require components to document in the Secretary's Information Management System for FOIA the rationales for delays in responding to FOIA requests, and to notify requesters of the delayed responses when processing requests.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of May 2017, the Department of Labor had provided a response regarding its actions to address our recommendation. We have not yet verified if the actions taken meet the intent of our recommendations. When we confirm what actions the agency has taken we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve DOL's management of FOIA requests, the Secretary of Labor should direct the Chief FOIA Officer to establish a time frame for consulting with the Department of Justice's Office of Information Policy on including language in DOL's response letters to administrative appeals notifying requesters of the National Archives and Records Administration's Office of Government Information Services' mediation services as an alternative to litigation, and then ensure that the department includes the language in the letters.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of May 2017, the Department of Labor had provided a response regarding its actions to address our recommendation. We have not yet verified if the actions taken meet the intent of our recommendations. When we confirm what actions the agency has taken we will provide updated information.
    Director: Jacqueline M. Nowicki
    Phone: (617) 788-0580

    2 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Education should direct Education's Office for Civil Rights to more routinely analyze its Civil Rights Data Collection by school groupings and types of schools across key elements to further explore and understand issues and patterns of disparities. For example, Education could use this more detailed information to help identify issues and patterns among school types and groups in conjunction with its analyses of student groups.

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: The Department of Education stated that it already analyzes its civil rights data in some of the ways we recommended, and in light of our recommendation, will consider whether additional analysis could augment their core civil rights enforcement mission. Education noted that it often uses the type of analyses GAO recommended, when appropriate, to inform its internal civil rights investigations, and makes the data available to researchers and other stakeholders outside the agency. While these efforts are encouraging, our recommendation emphasizes that the agency itself more routinely use the civil rights data across key data elements to help it identify disparities and patterns among groups and types of schools. Such an analysis could enhance the agency's current efforts and ultimately improve the agency's ability to target oversight and technical assistance to the schools that need it most. Education reported that this recommendation would be implemented by September 15, 2017. At that time, we will await documentation of its analyses by the school groupings as specified in our recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Attorney General of the United States should direct the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division to systematically track key summary information across its portfolio of open desegregation cases and use this data to inform its monitoring of these cases. Such information could include, for example, dates significant actions were taken or reports received.

    Agency: Department of Justice
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Justice concurred with this recommendation and believes its procedures for tracking case-related data are adequate. Justice reported in 2016 that it is currently developing an electronic document management system that may allow more case-related information to be stored in electronic format. The agency has already taken substantial steps to increase its case monitoring activities in desegregation cases, and intends to continue those efforts. However, Justice did not provide any details on what these steps are or if these steps are in line with our recommendation. GAO is encouraged that the agency sees a need to increase case monitoring. We will consider closing this recommendation when the agency provides specific information on its systematic tracking of information on open cases and using this information to enhance enforcement.
    Director: Maurer, Diana C
    Phone: (202) 512-9627

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To provide more reliable information for assessing the progress of its cost containment efforts and for informing judiciary and congressional oversight and decision making, the Director of AOUSC should develop a reliable method for estimating cost savings achieved (i.e., that ensures that cost savings are calculated in an accurate and complete manner) for major cost containment initiatives (as determined by the judiciary).

    Agency: Administrative Office of the United States Courts
    Status: Open

    Comments: In September 2016, the AOUSC reported that the Judicial Conference Budget Committee (Committee) discussed the GAO report and its two recommendations relating to major cost containment initiatives in January 2016. Among other things, the Budget Committee asked AOUSC staff to lead a working group to examine major cost containment efforts and develop recommendations on how to proceed on improvements to the calculation and reporting of associated cost savings. According to the AOUSC, work is currently underway to address the Budget Committee's recommendations. To fully address this recommendation, the AOUSC should provide the working group's recommendations on how to proceed on improvements to the calculation of cost savings associated with major cost containment efforts and evidence that the improvements have been implemented.
    Recommendation: To provide more reliable information for assessing the progress of its cost containment efforts and for informing judiciary and congressional oversight and decision making, the Director of AOUSC should regularly report estimated cost savings achieved for major cost containment initiatives (as determined by the judiciary).

    Agency: Administrative Office of the United States Courts
    Status: Open

    Comments: In September 2016, the AOUSC reported that the Judicial Conference Budget Committee (Committee) discussed the GAO report and its two recommendations relating to major cost containment initiatives in January 2016. Among other things, the Committee asked AOUSC staff to lead a working group to examine major cost containment efforts and develop recommendations on how to proceed on improvements to the calculation and reporting of associated cost savings. The AOUSC stated that the Committee believes that reporting on the Judiciary's cost containment initiatives should be included in the Judiciary's annual budget justification materials, as appropriate, to support the annual budget request. To fully address this recommendation, the AOUSC should provide the working group's recommendations on how to proceed on improvements to the reporting of cost savings associated with major cost containment efforts and evidence that the improvements have been implemented.
    Director: Mark L. Goldstein
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security should direct FPS to develop and implement a strategy for using covert-testing data and data on prohibited items to improve FPS's security-screening efforts. The strategy should, at a minimum, aim to ensure that: (1) covert-testing data are used to systematically monitor, review, and improve performance nationwide; (2) covert-testing data are used to determine which testing scenarios will be implemented or reinstated; and (3) data on prohibited items are analyzed to determine the reasons for wide variations in the number of reported prohibited-items detected across buildings and to assist with managing the screening process and informing policy.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of June 2016, implementation of this recommendation was in process, according to the Federal Protective Service (FPS). FPS provided no additional information, but plans to update GAO in the coming weeks on the status of this and other open recommendations.
    Director: Goldstein, Mark L
    Phone: (202)512-6670

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Homeland Security and Attorney General should instruct the Director of FPS, and the Director of the Marshals Service, respectively, to jointly lead an effort, in consultation and agreement with the judiciary and GSA, to update the MOA on courthouse security to address the challenges discussed in this report. Specifically, in this update to the MOA stakeholders should: (1) clarify federal stakeholders' roles and responsibilities including, but not limited to, the conditions under which stakeholders may assume each other's responsibilities and whether such agreements should be documented; and define GSA's responsibilities and determine whether GSA should be included as a signatory to the updated MOA; (2) outline how they will ensure greater participation of relevant stakeholders in court or facility security committees; and (3) specify how they will complete required risk assessments for courthouses, referred to by the Marshals Service as court security facility surveys and by FPS as facility security assessments (FSA), and ensure that the results of those assessments are shared with relevant stakeholders, as appropriate.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of April 2017, The Federal Protective Service, U.S. Marshals Service, Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, and General Services Administration were working to update the memorandum of agreement on courthouse security. An updated memorandum has been drafted, but it has yet to be signed by all parties. Consequently, resolution of this recommendation is pending until further action is taken.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Homeland Security and Attorney General should instruct the Director of FPS, and the Director of the Marshals Service, respectively, to jointly lead an effort, in consultation and agreement with the judiciary and GSA, to update the MOA on courthouse security to address the challenges discussed in this report. Specifically, in this update to the MOA stakeholders should: (1) clarify federal stakeholders' roles and responsibilities including, but not limited to, the conditions under which stakeholders may assume each other's responsibilities and whether such agreements should be documented; and define GSA's responsibilities and determine whether GSA should be included as a signatory to the updated MOA; (2) outline how they will ensure greater participation of relevant stakeholders in court or facility security committees; and (3) specify how they will complete required risk assessments for courthouses, referred to by the Marshals Service as court security facility surveys and by FPS as facility security assessments (FSA), and ensure that the results of those assessments are shared with relevant stakeholders, as appropriate.

    Agency: Department of Justice
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of April 2017, The Federal Protective Service, U.S. Marshals Service, Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, and General Services Administration were working to update the memorandum of agreement on courthouse security. An updated memorandum has been drafted, but it has yet to be signed by all parties. Consequently, resolution of this recommendation is pending until further action is taken.
    Director: Goldstein, Mark L
    Phone: (202)512-3000

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In order to improve the planning and oversight for future courthouse construction projects, to increase the efficiency of courtroom usage through courtroom sharing, and to ensure that future courthouses are built within the congressionally authorized gross square footage, the Administrator of GSA should establish sufficient internal control activities to ensure that regional GSA officials understand and follow GSA's space measurement policies throughout the planning and construction of courthouses. These control activities should allow for accurate comparisons of the size of a planned courthouse with the congressionally authorized gross square footage throughout the design and construction process.

    Agency: General Services Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: GSA has provided information to support closing this recommendation that GAO is evaluating.
    Recommendation: In order to improve the planning and oversight for future courthouse construction projects, to increase the efficiency of courtroom usage through courtroom sharing, and to ensure that future courthouses are built within the congressionally authorized gross square footage, the Administrator of GSA should, in order to avoid requesting insufficient space for courtrooms based on the AnyCourt model's identification of courtroom space needs, establish a process, in cooperation with the Director of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, by which the planning for the space needed per courtroom takes into account GSA's space measurement policy related to tenant floor cuts if a courthouse may be designed with courtrooms that have tenant floor cuts.

    Agency: General Services Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: GSA has provided information to support closing this recommendation that GAO is evaluating.
    Recommendation: In order to improve the planning and oversight for future courthouse construction projects, to increase the efficiency of courtroom usage through courtroom sharing, and to ensure that future courthouses are built within the congressionally authorized gross square footage, the Administrator of GSA should report to congressional authorizing committees when the design of a courthouse exceeds the authorized size by more than 10 percent, including the reasons for the increase in size.

    Agency: General Services Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: GSA has provided information to support closing this recommendation that GAO is evaluating.